Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ controversial memoir that makes Steve look awful is out today

Small Fry book cover

Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ wrote a memoir that looks at the final days of her father’s live, describing what it was like to grow up around such a famous technology luminary. The book, titled “Small Fry,” is out today and available to order from iBooks, Amazon and more.

“He invented the personal computer. He lives in a mansion and drives a Porsche convertible. He buys a new one every time it gets a scratch,” the author told her friends how excited she was to have a famous father like Steve, according to the book.

In one of the excerpts that we published a month ago, Steve’s oldest daughter offers her account of the Apple co-founder’s last three months, when a Buddhist monk used to accompany him. Steve famously named the 1980s Apple Lisa computer after her daughter when she was a child. The book calls the computer a “commercial failure,” which it was:

During the time my mother was pregnant, my father started work on a computer that would later be called the Lisa. It was the precursor to the Macintosh, the first mass-market computer with an external mouse—the mouse as large as a block of cheese. But it was too expensive, a commercial failure; my father began on the team working for it, but then started working against it, competing against it, on the Mac team. The Lisa computer was discontinued, the 3,000 unsold computers later buried in a landfill in Logan, Utah.

Check out the official book description:

Born on a farm and named in a field by her parents―artist Chrisann Brennan and Steve Jobs―Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ childhood unfolded in a rapidly changing Silicon Valley. When she was young, Lisa’s father was a mythical figure who was rarely present in her life. As she grew older, her father took an interest in her, ushering her into a new world of mansions, vacations and private schools.

His attention was thrilling, but he could also be cold, critical and unpredictable. When her relationship with her mother grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, hoping he’d become the parent she’d always wanted him to be.

‘Small Fry’ is Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ poignant story of childhood and growing up.

Scrappy, wise and funny, young Lisa is an unforgettable guide, marveling at the particular magic of growing up in this family, in this place and time, while grappling with her feelings of illegitimacy and shame. Part portrait of a complex family, part love letter to California in the seventies and eighties, ‘Small Fry’ is an enthralling story by an insightful new literary voice.

During Lisa’s development, Brennan-Jobs’ mother was on welfare payments because Steve would refuse to acknowledge that he was the father until she was three years old.

Brennan-Jobs wrote the book because she hated Walter Isaacson’s official biography, but her recount of the events did stir up some controversy among the Jobs family.

A New York Times article opined that the book mostly paints Steve as a jerk, prompting Steve’s widow Laurene Powell Jobs to push back on her stepdaughter’s memoir, saying it does not reflect “the husband and father we knew”:

Lisa is part of our family, so it was with sadness that we read her book, which differs dramatically from our memories of those times. The portrayal of Steve is not the husband and father we knew. Steve loved Lisa, and he regretted that he was not the father he should have been during her early childhood. It was a great comfort to Steve to have Lisa home with all of us during the last days of his life and we are all grateful for the years we spent together as a family.

However, Chrisann Brennan, who is the mother of the book’s author, has praised the depiction of her daughter’s childhood as accurate, including passages in which Steve is described as cold and uncaring.

Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011, at the age of 56.

If you’re eager to learn more about Apple lore, be sure to read “Creative Selection,” a new book by former Apple engineer, out today, that offers an inside account of Apple’s design and creative process during the Golden Age of Steve Jobs.

“Small Fry” is a $25.99 download from Apple’s Books Store.

The book is also available to order on Amazon for $17.10 in hardcover.

Do you plan on reading this book?

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